May 2010 – The Constitution…Who Cares?
By Dr. David M. Berman
We hear a lot about the Constitution today. The “Tea Party” has been bringing up the Constitution along with many talk radio personalities like Glen Beck, Rush Limbaugh, Mark Levin, and Sean Hannity. I have been writing, and speaking about the Constitution for years. But two questions must be asked; 1) Who cares? & 2) Why should we care? These are very important questions since it is clear that at least 50% of Americans are clueless (I am being generous, there are a lot more that are clueless) about the principles of liberty and the founder’s brilliance in forming our Constitutional Representative Republic.
Most people look at ideas that come from politicians completely in the wrong way. Those of us that are conservatives understand that Washington is comprised of numerous bad ideas however they may happen to come out with a good one from time to time. Here is the question; “Should the criteria in supporting an idea be a simple determination as to our personal opinion of how good the idea may be? Is that all that really matters? Most Americans now think that is the decisive factor. There is however another factor that is much more important than whether we may think that an idea is good or not. That factor is summed up in this question; ‘Is the idea Constitutional?” The average American simply does not think in these terms any longer.
Why is this question important to ask and why does it matter what the answer is? After all, should we not be more concerned with our desire to fix problems, get things done, and make a difference? The answer is extremely important. Our founders understood that limited government was essential for liberty. If the criterion is simply “a good idea” then the principles of limited government go out the window along with the protections of liberty. This is simply because when letting an idea come to law that does not pass the Constitutional test, we are giving jurisdiction that is unlawful. For every rare good idea the government might have, there are a thousand bad ones. Once you give authority to the federal government in places that the Constitution forbids, you also allow them to impose very bad ideas where that are un-Constitutional, thus leading to tyranny. The issue is not how good the idea is, but rather is the idea Constitutional first, then, is the idea a good one.
This is why the tenth amendment was placed in the Bill of Rights. Our founders understood that there needed to be clear understanding about proper jurisdiction. The powers of the federal government are clearly spelled out in the Constitution and the rest are given to “the states and the people.” Since the federal government has been usurping the rights of the states and the people, three things have happened. First, spending has become out of control and unsustainable. Second, liberties have been trampled on. Third a massive “dependent class” has been established. This dependent class has become enslaved to the government. History teaches us that the desire of government is to do just that, enslave the people under the control of the elite. The elite then rule with the confiscated power, and wealth of the people. This then places the people in subjection under their elite “benevolent” dictators. Our founders knew this all too well. They knew it from personal experience as well as history. This is why they developed a Constitutional Representative Republic.
We often hear the politicians refer to America as a “Democracy.” We are not. A democracy is unfruitful to liberty in that it is mob rule with decisions made on emotion. A Constitutional Representative Republic is different in that it must take the rule of Constitutional law as final arbiter or what is allowed. This creates a protective layer that allows for basic liberties as endowed by our “Creator” rather than rights given a taken at the whim of pure democracy.
The one problem with a Constitutional Representative Republic is that it depends on men of honor to run it, and citizens of honor to keep it. Honor is something that specifically goes along with one’s commitment to principle. When, as we see for modern history, there are few principled men and women in office, we see neglect of the limits of Constitutional governance. Unprincipled leaders always twist intent to their own gain. This is why liberals are against the originalist view of the Constitution. The originalist view is that the Constitution was written with a clear intent. Since it was written with intent, judges must rule based on that clear original intent. Liberals hate this idea because they wish to make the Constitution what they call “a living document.” In other words a document that is relative in intent. This of course makes the Constitution worthless since it changes us from a Representative Republic to a Democracy thus rendering emotional mob rule. Without original intent we simply have no principles to stand on. Without the principles of liberty, we have no unalienable rights. Our founders gave us a very slow way to change the Constitution in case there were things they could not foresee in the future. They gave us the amendment process as to ensure that any change would be deliberative and have the consent of the people through vigorous debate. Only after a slow process of debate and ratification of a large majority of states could a change be made. The liberals do not like this since they know that their agenda would never pass if they followed the rules of the Constitution, and so they twist the rules and use judicial activism to pass their despotic desires.
Let’s look at the biggest example of twisted government power grabs. Our Constitution contains a clause called “the commerce clause.” The reason the founders put this clause in could not be simpler to understand. They simply gave the federal government power to make sure that each state was engaged in free trade between states. This was to ensure that one state was not attempting to impinge on another state’s right of commerce. An example would be as follows:
Let’s say one state’s private industry was doing business with another state’s private industry and the two states were separated by one other state between them geographically. Let’s say that the state that was between them was doing something to make it unreasonably difficult for the two states to do business (such as restricting travel between the two states). The federal government could regulate interstate commerce and intervene on behalf of the two states to make sure commerce is not impeded.
The unprincipled leaders have stretched this clause to mean that they can regulate anything under the commerce clause. Original intention of the clause is irrelevant to them since they use the clause as a ruse for anything they want. Why do they do this? The answer is simple, they are unprincipled men and women who have no respect for the Constitution that they swore to protect.
Does the Constitution matter? Should we care? You better believe it does and we should! If you want to know why America is in the trouble that it’s in with unsustainable debt, torn social fabric, broken families, and the seemingly endless list of serious problems, all you have to do is look at the forsaking of the Constitution and the book that the principles of liberty is ultimately founded on; the Bible. So the next time you hear a politician spout off another so called “good idea,” ask yourself, is it Constitutional.
We are close to the point of no return. Wake up people…the time is short. We must return to the principles of liberty and demand that those we entrust with positions of authority are principled men and women. There may come a time when we must do as our founding fathers did. We may have to stand up and declare our unalienable rights. We may not only have to declare them, we may also have to bare our arms and fight against a government that seems bent on controlling us. Free men shall never submit to tyranny. For it is our duty to resist it at all costs! I hope and pray it does not come to that, but if it does, in the words of Patrick Henry “give me liberty or give me death.”